Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden said he did not sexually assault his former staffer Tara Reade. The former vice president released a statement this morning and addressed an allegation by Reade in which she claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when she worked for him in the Senate. He also said that if there are records of her complaint, they should be released.
“So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago,” he said. “They aren’t true. This never happened.”
Biden released the statement in recognition of April, which was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Every year, at this time, we talk about awareness, prevention, and the importance of women feeling they can step forward, say something, and be heard. That belief – that women should be heard – was the underpinning of a law I wrote over 25 years ago.”
He goes on to say, “While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
“She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have.”
He added, “There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills. There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.”
Pressure for Biden to comment on this allegation began to mount as he became the front runner in the 2020 Presidential election, and especially more so after several high-profile politicians, both men, and women, are backing him his campaign.